Addiction. I know this one. It’s given me a greater appreciation for grace. When a person faces the roaring Red Sea of temptation and only God’s grace parts the waters so he reaches the other side safely. Over and over.
I’m all too familiar with the lies. Sometimes they’re directed at me but other times the addict lies to himself. A web of deceit to hide the depths of addiction. You never know who you’ll encounter when you have a conversation with the person. They might be on top of the world. Other times they seem to be suffering from great thirst. Then there are those rare days when your loved one isn’t reeling in one direction or another. He appears calm and at peace with the world and himself.
I’ve walked this life with an addict or two. May God have mercy on our souls.
That’s why I’m so thankful for Seth Haines’ book, Coming Clean. He doesn’t try to define addiction and then put it in a box wrapped with pretty paper and a “now you’re healed” bow on top. What good would that do us?
Seth is a Christian man serving the church. Their little boy encounters some serious health problems and the medical answers aren’t coming easily. So. Much. Life. On September 21st, Seth began to wonder if maybe his drinking habit had turned into a reliance on alcohol. He discovered a dependence on the “sauce” to give him courage, added confidence, a numbness to the hopelessness he felt in meeting the needs of his little boy.
He felt it was time to get sober. For the first 90 days of his sobriety, he kept a journal and we hold it in book form. It wasn’t until October 5th he admitted:
I’ve not yet said it, but I’m afraid I can name my wrestling with the bottle. Some might call it abuse. I think I might say it different. "Hello, my name is Seth Haines" and all of that.
That’s what Coming Clean offers us. An inside look at facing our addictions. He makes it clear we all have something we turn to in an effort to numb ourselves. To hide from the unpleasant things of life.
The bottle is not the thing. The addiction is not the thing. The pain is the thing.
It’s a tricky thing facing our addictions. Control. Food. Alcohol. Womanizing. Fill in the blank. You can’t write about it in nicely formed paragraphs with flowery illustrations. Seth doesn't try to do that. Rather, he lets us inside his messy, personal battle. He discloses what he learns in his therapy sessions. The things in his past he has to process. Learning how to sit in the troubled parts of your soul is sure to leave one uncomfortable. This book assures us that is a very normal part of the process.
I know Seth wrote this book for all of us for we each struggle with addictions of some sort. That’s why I bought two copies. I’ll keep one as a personal reference for those times when I find I'm not sitting well with God and doing the work of tending to my soul. Seth calls it “inner sobriety.”
However, as I read this book, I offered up prayers for a particular loved one who struggles mightily with addiction. I'm putting a copy in the mail, sending it off with a prayer:
Dear Jesus, I pray my loved one would no longer struggle with addiction. That we would all know the great benefit of sitting in the pain and disappointments of life. Not for the sake of hurting. But for the sake of healing. I am thankful your grace (still) extends to this loved one of mine. Your mercy will always be enough. In your holy name, I claim victory in his life. May the words of this book help get us there. Amen.
I received a copy of Coming Clean, written by Seth Haines, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. I also had the privilege of participating in a Facebook group that helped promote the book. This book released last month. Italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.